As parents we want to be able to trust our kids. So how do we raise kids we can trust?
First and foremost we model trustworthiness right from the very beginning. Every time your baby cries and you pick her up, you are teaching her she can trust you to attend to her needs. With your toddler, you show her trust by being consistent with your discipline. As soon as you find a need to say, “no, that will hurt you,” you show her she can trust you to keep her safe.
Later, you show your preschooler trustworthiness by keeping your word. You pick her up on time. You read her the story you promised you would read tonight. You make cookies when you say you are going to. If you can't keep your word, apologize sincerely, explain why and genuinely try not to let it happen that often.
For your school age child, you model the truth by telling the truth in front of her. If you want to take a sick day to do something fun with your kids, either communicate that to your boss in private or let your children hear you being up front with your boss about why you are taking time off: Don't let your kid hear you "call in sick" and then take her to the zoo. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
One of the biggest ways to build trust is to protect your family time. The debate over whether quality time is more important than quantity time continues. Ask any child, however, and she will say she wants both: she wants to be involved right along side her parents’ lives, and she wants them to be involved in hers. A parent helps build trust with a child by being there along side her, not taking over but guiding her when needed. Do not confuse time when you are checking your email or texting a colleague as time with your children, even if they are standing right there; that is not something they cannot be a part of. Helping you to fold laundry or prep dinner or water the garden are activities where she can show her competence and responsibility. Those shared activities build trust.
The connectedness gained through shared activities pays off when you have teenagers. If you have been working along side each other, she has learned to trust you and she has shown over and over through her behavior that you can trust her. In high school, she has no reason to lie because she respects you and does not want to lose your respect. She may argue with you about her curfew, but in the end she will accept your word because she can trust your judgment. After all, you have shown that she can trust you from day one.